Thursday, March 3, 2011

A project 3 years in the making

*Those of you joining this party from a linky: I ramble A LOT! Keep on scrolling, you'll get to the good stuff soon!

Back when I still lived in Euless, I came up with a couple of different growth chart ideas. I wanted it to be on a board so we could take it with us. I had great intentions of adorableness - a personalized for each child. But I never worked on a single one. I never even bought a board to start. I just dreamed.

When I was drooling over getting a Silhouette SD, I entered a couple dozen contests to win one. Every contest was the same format "go to the website, look around, then come back and tell me what you'd make first if you win!" After about the third contest, I stopped going to the website (I had it MEMORIZED by that point!), and would just say that I wanted to make a growth chart for my kiddos.

When I got my silhouette, I had great intentions of whipping out a growth chart. It even came with vinyl!

Then I opened the box. And realized that it came with cream vinyl. Which really only looks good on darker paints. Which is totally not conducive to a growth chart.

So I had to order black vinyl. And wait for it to come. Once it did, of COURSE I had to let it sit on my counter for three weeks before I got around do doing anything about it!

Once I finally sat down to make it, I had to come up with something for the top, which of course took another week or two. Then I had to actually cut the vinyl. And paint the board. And . . .

Anyway, it's finally done. And I love it!

First off, some fun pictures of the end result:

I wanted to have it go up to about 6 ft 4 and then the art work. But my ceiling height did not cooperate.
Instead I cut off about 7 inches from the bottom - who needs the bottom foot anyway! I plan on putting in everyone's birth height, just for extra cuteness!

It's screwed straight into the wall (with drywall anchors to please my hubby), so it's not going anywhere.

Want to make one of your own? Keep on reading! If not - just scroll through and fall in love with the pictures! (or go make cookies - whichever will make you happiest!)

Step One: grab a board. Mine is a 1x6x6, and set me back about $5. In hindsight, I kind of wish I would have gone for the 1x8, so choose wisely. Go ahead and paint it your desired color now.

Step TWO: if you have a Silhouette, you can use this jpg to take out a lot of the hassle.

Step Three: Get the file ready to cut.

Yes, I do realize that I left out the actual cute part. Here's the scoop. I did a lot of searching to come up with that idea. And I mean A LOT!! I finally found it at a digital scrap booking store. Yes, I could have just stolen the idea and done it myself. But that didn't feel exactly honest, and it was worth $2.67 for my integrity. So you can feel good about yourself too, pick it up here.

You back? Great! Ok, so the size of the GROW png is totally wrong. So here's what you do.

First open up the Silhouette Studio. Then go to file>open. Change the file type (at the bottom) to all files, and find your .png grow file. This is what your screen should look like:

First I re-sized it a bit, so it was taller (2.945 x 7.075 to be exact!) Then, to change it into a cut file, grab your trace button (right hand side, 5th from the right.) click on "select trace area", and drag a box around the shape. Your screen should look like this:

Uncheck the high pass filter box. I also changed the threshold to 86% (this helps to get all those little lines in)
Now click "Trace".

Hooray! You did it! You can get rid of the black copy - it won't do anything from here on out.

Now let's size it.

Right now, it's one giant element. We need it separate. So select the whole thing, then Then you need to release the compound path (I do Object>release compound path).

Now we've got a whole bunch of little elements. You'll want to go and make the following compound paths:
  • the letters g and r with the two circles in the letter g
  • the word "verb."
  • the words "to increase"
  • "in size"
  • "or substance."
Sometimes it hard to know if you got all the little parts selected. I make it a compound path, then move it around. If all the word moves, just hit "undo" so it moves back to the right part and go on. If you missed something, hit undo so it goes back and then select the part you missed.

Now play with the spacing and size until you're happy. My final sizes were as follows:
  • the outer box (included in the .jpg earlier) is 3.115 x 5.165
  • The gr()w portion is 2.220 x 4.565
  • the definition is 1.465 x 1.325
You'll want the definition to be as large as you can. This helps a TON with cutting out. I eventually made just the definition one compound path (more on why in a minute).

Step Four: Cut it out!

This is where I had some problems. My vinyl wanted to curl up and then letters were getting sliced in half. Eventually, I moved the speed clear down to one and the thickness up to 10. This helped, but didn't solve it. So I cut out just the definition portion 5 or 6 times, and was able to piece it together into one end result.

Step Five: Weed it!

Weeding is removing all the vinyl you don't need. DO NOT DO ANYTHING TO THE TINY LETTERS. Just cut them out and set them aside.
This is key to my cool step.

Step 6: Put on transfer tape - but NOT on the tiny letters.

Step 7: put the vinyl on your board. This is obvious for the regular stuff.

Now, for the little words. First weed out the centers of the letters.

Do not remove any of the other vinyl. Remove all the vinyl together from the backing.

Place on your board and rub to make the whole thing stick. Now peel off the extra vinyl.

This is the only way I was able to get all the little things to stay in line!

Tada! Now it's all there, and you didn't scream in frustration at all those tiny letters moving around and making a mess while you're weeding. (not that I'd know anything about that, all FREAKIN SEVEN TIMES I DID IT!!)

I'm a Link'n up here!


  1. Great job! I love it! I think it is funny how we both displayed them in a similar spot too! Thanks for commenting on my blog.

  2. Yes, I have heard of Useless! I mean Euless. I'm from Arlington.


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